In general, plating involves providing a specific surface cover or coating to a metal. This assists in preserving the surface of the metal and preventing environmental damage from corrosion. It may also improve adhesion of paints and allow for bonding of primer, adhesive, and rubber.

Zinc plating was first done over a hundred years ago in France. It was developed by a chemist, P.J. Malouin, and included dipping metal into large vats of liquid molten zinc. This process was further refined by French and British scientists to include the treatment of the metal with 9% sulfuric acid and then fluxing the treated metal with ammonium chloride.

This process went on to become known as galvanizing and by the mid-1800s Britain alone was using 10,000 tons of zinc a year. However, this dipping or galvanizing process creates a thick layer of zinc on the surface, which is not desirable either visually or for use in many applications.

Electroplated zinc coatings are much more economical as they require less zinc but provide a strong, lightweight and corrosion resistant covering. Different combinations of metals in zinc plating allows for the selection of the right coating for the application, ensuring the best possible protection given the environment and specific use.

Options to Consider

At DeKalb Metal, we specialize in several different zinc plating options for different applications, including zinc alkaline, zinc iron and zinc nickel:

Zinc alkaline – very thin coating with extremely high levels of corrosion resistance.
Zinc iron – uniformly bright deposit which contains 0.4-0.8% by weight iron. Extremely low stressed and blister free and highly protective.
Zinc nickel – exceptional corrosion resistance with 12-15% by weight nickel, zinc/nickel alloy coating. It has excellent adhesion characteristics and uniformity of plate distribution.

Contact us if you need any assistance in selecting the right zinc plating for your application or to help you determine which plating will be the most appropriate given your project. Our team of certified professionals is always available to answer your questions regarding your metal finishing processes and products.